Vale has assured the safety of its Integra underground coal mine, after it was forced to close the mine due to a suspected methane leak.
In consultation with the Mines Inspectorate, Vale carried out a controlled withdrawal of people from underground workings at the coal mine following increased methane levels, the Brazilian mining giant said today.
According to Andrew Betts, the general manager of Integra, all personnel were withdrawn form the mine in a safe manner.
“The safety of our staff is –and will always be – our first priority,” Betts said.
“We’re not prepared to jeopardise the ongoing safety of our employees and we’re entirely committed to working with the District Coal Mines Inspector and our employees to ensure that normal operations are resumed in a controlled and safe manner.”
He explained that a comprehensive recovery plan, including risk assessment and procedures has been prepared and the situation is being closely monitored.
“We have a number of people dedicated to resuming operations and while we work towards a solution we’ve been able to access underground areas to maintain essential maintenance and water pumping activities,” Betts stated.
Xstrata was forced to close its Blakefield South coal mine in the Hunter Valley earlier this year after a fire broke out underground, due to methane leaking along the longwall face.